The holidays can make staying sober hard, especially if it’s your first year. You may associate holiday socializing with alcohol or other drugs, forming a mental connection. Thanksgiving, in particular, is one of the biggest drinking holidays due to the meal and football games. How can you ensure you have a sober Thanksgiving?
Read on for tips on how to stay sober during the holidays. If you think you need professional help, check out NFA Behavioral Health’s residential drug rehab center in NH.
The Pavlov Effect
Over time your brain will begin to connect specific tastes, sounds, and smells together. The same is true with drugs and alcohol. If you eat something with alcohol often, you will associate the two. Mentally associating sensations together Pavlovian conditioning. The term comes from Ivan Pavlov, who trained his dog to associate the ring of a bell with food. The dog eventually began to drool when hearing the sound, even without food.
In the same way, you may have conditioned your brain to expect drugs or alcohol when celebrating Thanksgiving. Seeing relatives or partaking in the meal may trigger these conditioned cravings. Other people drinking is one of the reasons why a sober Thanksgiving can be hard. It doesn’t mean a sober Thanksgiving needs to be impossible, though. Preparing ahead of time can be critical to staying sober during the holidays.
How to Stay Sober During the Holidays
A sober Thanksgiving, especially your first sober Thanksgiving, can be a challenge. Most importantly, you need to be around people willing to be sober around you. Before your Thanksgiving meal, you should request that alcohol not be served, preferably in advance. By warning friends or relatives, you can ensure that you will have a sober Thanksgiving environment. By not seeing it or others drinking, it will be easier for you to avoid temptation.
Cook Your Own Sober Thanksgiving Meal
Preparing your food can help distract you from cravings. Keeping to yourself during the holidays may be a better solution than exposing yourself to addiction triggers at a relative’s house. Be mindful of where Thanksgiving events are being hosted and whether or not it is best for you to attend. Being proactive and planning is how to stay sober during the holidays.
However, hosting your own sober Thanksgiving may not be possible. In this case, you should consider celebrating with people willing to have a sober Thanksgiving. Talk to your friends or family ahead of time and make them aware of your triggers and needs for a successfully sober Thanksgiving.
The bustling of the holidays and family pressures distract from the most important thing. Self-care. Practicing mindfulness takes care of your needs and benefits others. Canterbury’s drug and alcohol rehab center helps you find the routine that works best for you. Mindfulness and self-care approaches include:
- Volunteer during the holidays
- Daily yoga or exercise
- Caring for a therapy animal